I was just reading the chosen epitaph of a distant relative of mine, who died a few weeks ago aged 96 – he chose “he used his time well”. I like to think that my lack of sewing and posting has been down to me using my time well rather than just failing with the blog! (Last post…February…OOPS!)
I have been running around like crazy for the last couple of months. The last two weekends I have told my colleagues that I have very little on (“just a quiet one”) and then realise by Sunday evening that I am actually yet to sit down and watch tv / read a book / actually rest! My weekdays are currently full of revision for yet another exam – the Investment Management Certificate (I really thought I had left the world of exams behind me 2.5 years ago when I qualified as a Chartered Surveyor…apparently not), and my weekends…well, I just came back from completing my first ever triathlon – see photo below. NEVER let me do one again – it was hell!
So how does this bring me onto sewing? Yesterday morning I decided it was time to dust off the trusty sewing machine. I had no plans for the day, aside from collecting my bike from my parent’s house and then going to a dinner party in the evening. Needless to say, once I began cutting the material out, I decided that I definitely wanted to be able to wear the trousers to the dinner party…that was my challenge. I will tell you now that at 7.15pm I was finishing off the hemming, 7.30pm, I was at the dinner party…
This is honestly the easiest project I have ever undertaken and so quick – wonderful! It is the Casual Trouser pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee – Fashion with Fabric book which I have used before on this blog. I do worry about their sizing but decided to go with the pattern this time, rather than lengthening. As a result, the trousers are more ankle length as opposed to full length trousers as they show in their picture in the book. I’m happy with that, so all good – but bear in mind I am somewhere between 5ft8 and 5ft9, so look at how they fit on me and decide for yourself!
I began by tracing my pattern size from the pattern onto greaseproof paper, and then, in the usual way, folding the fabric in half (right sides together) and laying it out on my table. It is so easy to be lazy about clearing your surroundings, but it really is necessary.
I then weighed down my pieces using my coasters (perfect tools for the job!) and then traced round them. I tried chalk but it was not great, so I switched to a black felt tip. I would note here, that the book has an error in it. If I had followed the layout plan in the book rather than reading the pattern piece and using common sense, I would have cut out a waistband that is half the size and WAY too small for my fat tum!
Then I cut out the pieces out. I always find this a challenge / highly stressful, but just about managed (with a nice cup of tea, as seen in the below picture!).
The sewing itself is very basic – sewing a single line of stitches and then pressing the seams open, sew the leg pieces together.
The next stage is to interface the waistband where the buttonholes will be in order to strengthen them and then make the buttonholes. I have never made buttonholes and so was hugely apprehensive. However, there was no need to be. This is SO easy – my sewing machine instructions showed me exactly how to do it by changing the stitches, and also putting on the buttonhole foot to the machine. Then you use a quick-unpick to cut a hole in the buttonhole. SO satisfying – I now want to add buttonholes to all of my clothing…
Following this, the waistband needs to be made up into a circle and then folded in half (to make the top of the waistband) and attached to the trousers (so you have three raw edges that you are sewing together). You must ensure you leave a 10cm gap around the centre back seam as you need to feed through your elastic from here.
I tried on the trousers at this point and was slightly alarmed that they were giant! I thought that I must have lost multiple stones in weight and was now tiny. ALAS, no. They are big because then you fit the elastic. Cut the elastic to a comfortable stretch around your stomach, and then attach a safety pin to guide the elastic through the waistband. Then sew up the back gap and your trousers are so nearly done!
To neaten up the look, two channels of topstitch must be sewn over the elastic. Ensure that the elastic is stretched out when you sew these lines of topstitching. If you have weak little hands like mine then you will need to take regular breaks while doing this!
Then the exciting part – thread your drawstring through the buttonhole and out the other buttonhole, and then hem the trouser legs.
WOOHOO – completed. SO ridiculously easy that I insist you give this one a go! Summer here I come.
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Right, now off to enjoy the sunshine in my new trousers!